Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers mailbag: Will Armstead play this week? What’s the plan at RB? Will Garoppolo return next season?

Marc Adams
Nov 29, 2022 at 1:55 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers are in the home stretch, with only six games remaining. After Sunday's victory over the New Orleans Saints, you'd think 49ers fans have nothing to worry about. But a handful of injuries, and some tough upcoming opponents, have given fans plenty of reasons to fret.

We opened up our 49ers mailbag to see what was on the troubled minds of fans. Let's take a peek inside.

What do you think is holding back these 49ers on offense? All The tools are there but lack the explosion on plays. - Will D.

The 49ers have been inconsistent on offense. A week after exploding against the Cardinals, the offense struggled against the Saints.

One reason is that the New Orleans defense is good. In fact, the Saints probably have the best defense the 49ers have faced this season. But the other reason is that they are settling for too many field goals. They're moving the ball well, but once they reach the red zone, things are breaking down, mistakes are being made, and penalties are being called. It feels like when the offense doesn't function at a high level, it's usually a different reason each time, which is all the more frustrating.

There's still time for them to gel. Once they do, they have the potential to be very explosive.

Will John Lynch hire me as a scout? - Daniel K. (former NY Jets scout)

Daniel, I just got off the phone with John Lynch. He wanted me to let you know he won't be offering you a position as a scout, but he did say the janitorial staff is looking for someone to clean Levi's Stadium toilets. And since you once worked for the New York Jets, we both feel you'd be a great fit.

You start on Monday. Bring gloves.

Can Jimmy win the Super Bowl? - CG Ruthless

He almost did in 2019. So yes, I believe in Jimmy Garoppolo. He has the best offensive weapons he's had so far, and a defense that is playing extremely well. He also (usually) has a very good running game. It will all come down to the health of the team. If they are relatively healthy, this team can win the Super Bowl.

In Garoppolo we trust.

Looking ahead, the Eagles' offense is playing on fire now. Can the 49ers' defense slow them down enough and the offense generate 25 points to beat them? - Niner Jim

The Eagles not only have an explosive offense, but their defense is also good. The 49ers should be able to slow down the Eagles' offense. But the 49ers will still need to score a lot of points to beat Philadelphia. Will 25 points be enough to beat the Eagles? If the game is in Philly, I'm not sure.

One thing I know, great defenses and great running games show up in the postseason. The 49ers should have both in the postseason. They can handle the Eagles.

Could Raheem's disdain for the 49ers be rooted in fans' reaction when he was injured prior to being sent to MIA? If I recall correctly his wife called out Niner fans for nasty comments… - Andrew C.

Raheem Mostert claims he was misrepresented. But he has been known to complain in the past, so he likely said what the article claims he said.

And to be fair, the 49ers aren't the only organization with fans who have a history of offending players and their significant others. Mostert needs to focus on the defense he's about to face. He's probably going to get hit hard...and often.

Will Arik Armstead finally make it out here against these Dolphins? The defense is doing well, but a little more pressure on that Tua quarterback won't hurt - Will D.

Kyle Shanahan said Arik Armstead had a good practice on Friday, and a good workout on Sunday. If he's able to practice on Wednesday, there's a good chance he could play on Sunday.

You're right, the defense needs Armstead. They have missed him. If he's well enough to play, his fresh legs could be a welcome addition to the defensive line on Sunday.

What are we gonna do offensively to not go 3 and out, so the defense can get a bit of a rest, and not be on the field for 60 minutes of game time against a tough opponent, and half of our old team coming Sunday? I mean the coach knows our team rather well and probably has a couple of game plans for us already. Let's get the W fellas! - Troy D.

What can the 49ers do to help out the defense? Convert more third downs. Run the ball. Keep that explosive Miami offense on the sideline.

It's true that Mike McDaniel knows the 49ers well. But the 49ers know him, too. Each team will have some wrinkles, but for the most part, they won't be surprised by too much.

The Dolphins' defense isn't as good as the Saints' defense, so I would expect the 49ers to be able to score more than 13 points. And they should have more success on third down, which means the defense shouldn't be on the field as long.

Why do other teams not get called for all the holding penalties on Bosa? - Dave H.

All good pash rushers get held. It would seem as though Nick Bosa gets held more than any other, but that's because he's the one we watch each week.

That said, Bosa is as good as any pass rusher in the game, so he probably does get held more than others do. I'm guessing every team in the league has weekly complaints directed at officiating.

Bosa is held on almost every play. Most don't get called. Then again, Mike McGlinchey holds on almost every play. Most of the time, he doesn't get called for it either.

When can we get a reliable DE to compliment Bosa? Jackson is good, but young and needs time. Definitely need our interior linemen to stay healthy to help Bosa's pressures and hits on the QB to really matter. - Matt J.

I'm not sure what you're looking for, Matt. Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu have both had good seasons. Drake Jackson has shown flashes, as well.

If you're looking for a second Bosa to line up on the opposite side of the first Bosa, those guys are hard to come by. And with all the money being designated to other positions and players, I don't see the 49ers spending big at that position. Especially considering they will soon be paying the first Bosa.

We don't know what we have in Trey Lance, but we do know what we have in Jimmy G, and Jimmy G is very capable of taking this team back to the Super Bowl. IF we do hoist The Lombardi in February, do you see Jimmy G staying and coming back to defend our title while Trey Lance is being traded to get some draft revenue back? Or do you see Jimmy G leaving via free agency and we get a 3rd compensatory pick at best and take our chances with Trey Lance? - Johnny Y.

I would be shocked if Garoppolo returns next season (although I did say the same thing back in February). The only way that happens is if the 49ers win the Super Bowl, or come close enough that they believe he's the answer at QB, and promise him the starting position if he returns.

If that happens, the bigger question will be what they do with Trey Lance. Would they keep him, or would they trade him to try to get back some draft picks? And what could they get for Lance? Certainly, not as much as they gave up.

My best guess is that Garoppolo is QB1 for a new team next season. If so, will Lance be QB1 for the 49ers?

Is CMC playing next week? - Wayne E.

We will know more as the week goes on. The plan is to rest Christian McCaffrey during the week, in hopes that his "knee irritation" will get better. The offense certainly will need him, as they may have to score a lot of points to keep up with Miami.

If McCaffrey doesn't play on Sunday, I don't like the 49ers' chances of winning that game. But I would expect him to play.

Do we have a backup plan for running back? - Darryl A.

Jordan Mason deserves the chance to be McCaffrey's backup. He looked good on Sunday, in a situation where the 49ers needed to pick up some first downs and run out the clock. The Saints knew what was coming, and Mason still delivered. He deserves his shot.

I'm curious to see if Ty Davis-Price gets some carries, as well. I've heard conflicting reports about him. I've heard that coaches aren't happy with his progress, and I've heard they are. So it's hard to discern where Davis-Price stands. Matt Maiocco, of NBC Sports Bay Area, was a guest on KNBR on Monday and said he has not heard anything that suggests the coaches are down on Davis-Price, and that the rookie running back isn't having the problems that Trey Sermon has last season. So we'll see.

And let's not forget that Tevin Coleman is on the practice squad, and that Shanahan isn't afraid to call on him. I really don't want to see Coleman, though, unless Davis-Price just isn't ready.

How do the 49ers beef up that O-line? - Patricia A.

There's nothing they can do right now to add to the offensive line, Patricia. You're stuck with the group you have.

In the offseason, I hope they can find an upgrade at center and right tackle. I think the two guards are going to be really good. And the guy who plays left tackle is not too bad, either.

So if I can save part of my Christmas list for spring, I'd ask Santa for an upgrade at center and right tackle.

Can we blitz more on Tua? - Terry B.

Can the 49ers blitz more? Of course. Will they? That depends on how much pressure they can put on the quarterback without blitzing.

If the front four can put pressure on the QB, I would anticipate only an occasional blitz. If Armstead is back, that will help. DeMeco Ryans has shown he's not afraid to blitz when he needs to.

Should never have traded Jeff Wilson. Eli Mitchell is chronically injured. Plus, the worst part is we got fleeced! Only got a lousy 5th-round pick! Are you kidding me? We wuz robbed! - Barry K.

Barry, you must not remember what the 49ers do with 5th-round draft picks. It's the stuff of legends. (Samuel Womack, Deommodore Lenoir, Talanoa Hufanga, Dre Greenlaw, D.J. Reed, and George Kittle to name a few)

Elijah Mitchell dealt with a lot of injuries last season, but he played through them. Knee injuries are a little fluky. Keep in mind that Jeff Wilson, Jr. is injured a lot, himself. He also has fumbling issues. Mitchell never fumbles.

It's easy to see things as they are now and say the 49ers shouldn't have traded Wilson, but last week, no one was saying that.

Six games left, what is their final record? - Dave H.

I think the 49ers will go 4-2 the rest of the way, and finish 11-6. They'll likely lose one of the next two games (preferably Miami, since it's not a conference game), then they'll lose to either Seattle or Washington. They'll win the final two games, unless they rest players against Arizona. In that case, they'd finish 3-3, for a 10-7 record.

I predict they'll win the division, and host a playoff game.

Thanks so much for all your questions. We'll be back next Monday for more mailbag questions.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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